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Kids? Really?

Wed 15 Jan 2020, 23:28

I'm just starting a campaign-style game and one of the players wants to play a Kid. We had a Session Zero and decided that we wanted to do a sort of Space Truckers game and everyone made their characters, except for the guy that wants to be a Kid – he missed that game night.

So my question is this; How much of a kid is a 'Kid?' Judging from the flavor text of the career page, I'd guess a Kid was meant to be twelve years old or younger. My suspicion is that the player might be hoping to be sixteen or seventeen and functionally be an adult while also taking advantage of the Kid talents. I'm also not 100% sure of how a Kid is going to figure into the crew of a salvage ship, especially one as small as a CM-90S Corvus.

As a side note: Not one of the existing character backgrounds mentions the desire to be a parent in the deepest, darkest, reaches of space. Just sayin', I'm not sure I'll be able to come up with a reason for the crew to NOT just drop him off at the next space station. If the character becomes a burden to the rest of the crew they will totally do that to be rid of him.

So while I would like to let this guy play the career he wants, at the same time I don't want to dump the role of Parent onto one (or all) of the other players/characters. Any tips or ideas? I might just say, “No”, but I'd rather not.
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Re: Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 07:26

I don't think this is a discussion between GM and player as much as a group discussion with the players. He needs to fit in with the crew and that means working with the other players to be something that enhances everyones experience.
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Re: Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 10:23

This discussion should be the Alien forum, not Coriolis, but ... I have seen a squad of marines include a “kid” as a sort of greenhorn. Obviously not 12, so I think you can read into the archetype anything that player and GM want. 
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Re: Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 10:52

Moderator Action: Thread moved to the Alien forum since it appears to be an Alien topic (I trust The1TrueFredrix on this).
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Re: [Moved] Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 12:10

I'm not sure I'll be able to come up with a reason for the crew to NOT just drop him off at the next space station. If the character becomes a burden to the rest of the crew they will totally do that to be rid of him.
Why is this not true for all the rest of the characters? Being dumped by the crew if they become a burden, that is.

That said, I think theres always a problem when one person misses the start-up session, and then want to make a character that kind of deviates from the norm. For me, I would put a much bigger demand on that person to adher to what ever was decided in that meeting rather than their own preferences (withing reason). Cause I've experienced the situation several times (both as a GM and as a player) where this happens, where the starter group had a great plan on how the group should work and what kind of game it would be, and then the late commer came in and kind of ruined it (I have seen it work too, by the way. So I'm not saying it's always bad).

That said, I think a kid is a very fitting and clasical role in a group of space truckers. First of all, no one needs to be the kids parent. If you wan't a family connection, I'd suggest something a bit more distant like an Aunt/Uncle or an older cousin or something like that. That removes a good bit of the responsability from the older character, and also changes the power dynamic a bit so the older character don't have as much authority over the younger character ("You're not my dad!").

That also means that it's perfectly viable for the older character (although the player should agree to this) not to actually want the kid there! The kid just showed up with a letter from the older characters sister, or brother or something saying "my situation is all messed upp right now, I need you to take care of the kid for a few months". Heck, that setup would even work with a character as one of the parents. Just take a look at Real Steal of to incorporate a youngster to an unvilling parent =D

But depending on the exact setup you're going with, if the kid is a bit older (and remember that age is relative! Even a 20-year old could be a "kid", if they are inexperienced and all the rest are a bit older. It doesn't feel weird when Han Solo calles Luke "kid", does it?) and the truckers are actually working for a company, the kid might have gotten a job by lying about their age, and now is part of the crew. Or maybe there's a specific task on the ship that requires a kid (someone smaller, presumably) like cleaning the airducts, or maybe a hard to reach place in the engine that needs constant attention.

You ask each character why their specific character _needs_ the kid to be onboard. For one, it might be because they are the current care taker. For another, it might be because they need help with the engine. A third might just like the kid and want to make sure they are brought up right. And if most of the characters really want the kid there, it's okay for one or two characters to not want it (as long as it's the characters that don't want it, while the players are cool with the setup). But I think the majority of the characters should want the kid there, to make things run smoothly.

Also... I've not read the acutal rules yet, I'm just talking from a fluff perspective here. But I assume the rules have some pros and cons regarding being a kid. I'd stick with those, and be carefull to apply a whole lot of additional "cultural" cons to it. Unless it's purely "comsmetic", like:

"Hey, no kids in here! This is a bar!"
"The kids with me!"
"Oh, well okay just keep an eye on them then."

Otherwise, it can easily feel like the player is being punished for wanting to play a kid. And it might also spill over so that the other players start to feel overly burdened by having a kid along. work together to make it work instead.

But I actually think you should have another "session zero" in this case, and discuss how you can make this work in the group. And if the rest of the players don't like, maybe the one wanting to play a kid needs to accept that latecomers sometimes need to adapt to the situation?
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Re: [Moved] Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 19:36

Agree with suggestions mentioned; a child inroduces some complexities to your job as GM but tyou have tools to deal with them, so work with the group to find a balance between the player's desire and nature of the campaign.

I do want to call out the inspiration for the Kid class is pretty clearly Newt from Aliens, who despite her 12-ish age is less of an "annoying tag-along child" and more "person with most experience surviving xenomorphs, who happens to be tiny". Aliens benefited from not needing to support that dynamic for more than 2 hours, unlike your campaign, but the kid's link to the party could be strengthened by an initial encounter where they bond while fighting for their lives, or perhaps learning a Company secret that puts them all on the run together.

If the group is happy with the party dynamics, your job then is just to make them a plausible but equal part of the story. The 'cosmetic' suggestion is good, though I want to twist it slightly to 'mostly cosmetic'. Use the kid's presence as fodder for story hooks, but don't use it as a cudgel to punish the players. For example, if your session needs some conflict, the bartender refuses to let in the kid, so they have to sneak them in through the air ducts, or using a disguise. However if the players are eager to get to the plot point and are annoyed at the prospect of an unwanted diversion, don't push it: let them in.
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Re: [Moved] Kids? Really?

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 20:33

Since they do work for the company and I like some hot sauce thrown on my party you can always say the kid is a unwanted child of a company exe. To give it more flavor I would let that player have knowledge of something important that would come up later. There is a lot of ways to spin it. Now if the player plays him/her as an annoying brat then they just might get left behind at the nearest station like Arceon.